MAJORCA'S magnificent beaches are one of its biggest tourist attractions, and this year, the beaches and ports won no fewer than 56 European Union Blue Flags for excellence, five more than in the year 2005. The number of beaches and ports which made the grade in the whole of the Balearics was 75, three more than in 2005.
The programme was set up by the private European Foundation of Environmental Education and is promoted and developed by the non-governmental Environmental and Consumer Education Association (Adeac). Fifty-nine of the Blue Flags awarded in the Balearics were for beaches and 16 for ports.
In the case of Majorca, 41 beaches and 15 ports achieved the Blue Flag. In the Balearics as a whole, 30 requests were rejected, 17 of them (14 beaches and three ports) in Majorca. One of the beaches which was rejected was La Romana in the popular Calvia resort of Peguera, turned down because the analyses of the sea water were presented outside the time limit. José Ramón Sánchez, chairman of Adeac, praised the work which is being done in the Balearics in the field of safety, with more lifeguards than ever.
Improvements had also been made in access to beaches for the disabled, although, he stressed, “they are still insufficient.” And many beaches could be better signposted and provide more information for visitors.
Various beaches and ports lost their Blue Flag this year.
In addition to La Romana, these were Es Carregador, also in Calvia, Can Picafort in Santa Margalida, Es Trenc and Ses Covetes in Campos, the Port of Andratx and the Sailing Club of the Port of Andratx and the Sailing Club of Arenal. Es Trenc is considered one of the most emblematic beaches on the island, and one of the least spoilt, and it came as a shock to see it lose its Blue Flag. The fact that Ses Covetes also lost its Blue Flag means that Campos, which relies heavily on agriculture rather than tourism, has no awards this year.
The Mayor of Campos, Andreu Prohens, expressed his determination to make the necessary improvements. He commented that “some years we win a flag and others we don't but they never give us a reason.” Points taken into account include panels with information explaining the ecosystem of the area, daily information on the quality of the water, a ban on pets, sufficient waste paper baskets and local or regional contingency plans for tackling any possible ecological disaster. The neighbouring island of Minorca was awarded seven Blue Flags, the same number as last year, with one variation -- the port of Ciutadella, managed by the Balearic government, lost its Flag, while Sa Caleta d'en Gorries was awarded one for the first time. The other six flags went to beaches: Santandria, Cala Blanca, Cala en Bosch and Son Xoriguer (Ciutadella), Cala Galdana (Ferreries) and Son Bou (Alayor). Five of the seven Blue Flags went to beaches on the south coast of Ciutadella while municipalities with various resorts such as Sant Lluis and Es Mercadal did not achieve any. Mahon, which up to 2004 had had a Flag for Es Grau, was also left without an award this year.